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by Jacob Marmor (pseudonym)

Friday, September 26, 1941

in What's New In Town

W. J. Sidis


        One of the earliest prisoners in the big witchcraft panic that hit Essex County at the end of the 17th century following the overthrow of Puritan rule, was the co-called “Witch of Wenham Lake,” a young woman who lived near Lake Wenham and was said to spend much of her time sitting on the lake shore. She was arrested as a witch, apparently on the accusation of some older women, out of jealousy, and taken to Danvers and locked up overnight in an attic there. In the morning, she had totally vanished, and the people of Danvers took that as proof that she had the powers of black magic. There is, however, a happier ending to the story supplied in Whittier’s poem, “The Witch of Wenham.” According to this, her lover sneaked her out the window at midnight, and the two rode away from these parts, taking refuge in Berwick, Maine. It is claimed, indeed, that many of Berwick’s present inhabitants are descended from that couple. Lake Wenham stands at the edge of the Great Metropolis, out in North Beverly.


        An old, unused subway loop can be seen at Adams Square, on the left of cars just rounding the curve into the subway station. The other side of this loop comes out on the present platform for Charlestown cars at that station . . . where, at the rear end of the platform, you look over a wall into the darkness beyond. The loop was originally planned so that cars from Charlestown, Chelsea, and East Cambridge could use Adams Square as a terminus. And, as the loop was never used, Adams Square became a one-way station.


        Even the ancient capital of mythical King Arthur has its modern representative in our Metropolis. Camelot, as the King Arthur tales refer to the place, appears to have been originally, in the ancient language of the Britons, something more like Camelodon. And it is not too hard to see how it got finally abbreviated into―Malden. Malden originally included Everett. The present “Malden Bridge” connecting Charlestown and Everett might serve as a reminder of this. Malden is a fair size city in its own right, but makes a solid part of the Great Metropolis. It is a manufacturing city, as well as a shopping and transportation center for the surrounding regions. No less than thirteen transportation lines pass through Malden Square, including buses to Lowell, Lawrence and Haverhill. Malden claims that it owns a large tract of land in the interior of Massachusetts. The difficulty in establishing its claims is that, while old records indicate that such a grant was made by the legislature, no records have been preserved indicating just where this land was located. There s a story that, in 1775, the Lynn minutemen were late in getting into the Concord fight because they tarried too long over a Malden luncheon.


         A girl in California who was contemplating a trip East began inquiring of a Bostonian who was out there, as to the Atlantic coast climate.

        Among other things, she was interested in finding out how hot it got in the summer, as Southern California papers always print exaggerated reports of terrific heat, in the East every summer.

       The Bostonian explained that the papers frequently carried news of special heat when temperatures reached above 85.

        To which the California miss replied: “Eighty-five! I thought it was hot back East!”


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